Christopher Z. Mooney named the first Honorable W. Russell Arrington Professor in State Politics
Christopher Z. Mooney, professor of Political Science at the University of Illinois Springfield and U of I Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) has been named the first Honorable W. Russell Arrington Professor in State Politics.
Mooney is a leading national expert in the field of state politics and policy, with a special focus on legislative decision-making, legislative leadership, and morality policy. He was selected for the appointment over other distinguished candidates from all three U of I campuses.
“Not only is this position a great honor for me, but it’s also an opportunity and a great responsibility,” said Mooney. “The Arrington professorship will give me the opportunity to launch into a new line of scholarship.”
In his first project as Arrington professor, Mooney is conducting a series of interviews to determine how lawmakers think about cause and effect in public policy.
“I’m talking about how lawmakers understand the world. How lawmakers acquire and use information about both politics and policy, about the tricks of minds and strategies they use,” said Mooney.
Mooney was honored during an investiture celebration at UIS on February 28, 2011. The event was attended by U of I administrators, colleagues, friends, family and former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar, an IGPA distinguished fellow.
“When I was told he was going to be the appointee, I said good, that’s the right person,” said Edgar. “I have been in his classroom and also I’ve watched him on television when he’s asked about things going on in state government I always think he has a lot of common sense.”
The Arrington professorship is named for the late W. Russell Arrington, a towering figure in the Illinois House (1945-55) and Senate (1955-73).
“(Mooney’s) background and his list of achievements place him among the top academics in the United States,” said Michael Arrington, the former lawmaker’s son.
Mooney joined UIS in 1999 and is the sixth recipient of a named professorship on the Springfield campus in the past decade. The Arrington professorship is the first to reside within the Institute of Government and Public Affairs.
“Dr. Mooney is not only a nationally known scholar, but he’s also consistently rated by our students as one of the most dedicated and effective professors,” said Harry Berman, UIS Chancellor.
The founding editor of State Politics and Policy Quarterly, the premier academic journal in its field, Mooney has published dozens of articles and books, both in scholarly and general audience outlets. In 2010, the American Political Science Association recognized him as a leader in the discipline by establishing the Christopher Z. Mooney Best Dissertation Award in the field of state politics and policy. Mooney was also named University Scholar the same year.